Philadelphia Eagles vs. Cleveland Browns
Date and Time: Thursday, August 23, 2018, 8 p.m. ET
Location: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, OH
Opening NFL Odds: Browns -2, 42.5
Eagles vs. Browns TV Coverage: FOX
With the outlook of Carson Wentz starting Week 1 still cloudy at best, the last thing Philly could afford was an injury to back-up Nick Foles whom they ponied up some decent cash to in the offseason to hold a clipboard on the sideline. The injury bug taunted the Eagles last week after Foles was taken out of the game for precautionary reasons after straining his throwing shoulder.
After the game, Foles said it was minor and he expected to be ready for practice the following week. Well, the football gods are still smiling on the city of Philadelphia as Foles was right. The injury was minor, and he was back in 11-on-11 drills Sunday morning. Fans and bettors of the Eagles can take that sigh of relief now. Even better news, Wentz was right beside him so it looks like all is good with the defending champ’s offense with the regular season a few weeks away; at least from a quarterback perspective.
After dominating the Giants in a wire-to-wire smack down Week 1, the Browns looked a bit off in last week’s home debut against the Buffalo Bills. Baker Mayfield didn’t do much of anything to force Hue Jackson’s hand in anointing him the QB1 after completing 7 of 13 passes for 75 yards. Tyrod Taylor wasn’t eye-opening either in completing 4 of 7 passes for 22 yards. Still, the job is the veterans to lose.
What was impressive however was the defenses ability to put pressure on the Bills’ quarterbacks, and the offenses ability to rush the pigskin down Buffalo’s throat. After registering just two sacks at New York, Gregg Williams’ stop unit tallied three QB sacks against the Bills. On the other side of the ball, the running back trio of Carlos Hyde, Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson Jr. all thrived combining for 144 rushing yards and a couple touchdowns. A stark improvement after the ground attack needed 33 carries to log 50 yards against the G-Men.
Trends of Note
Under Pederson, the Eagles stand 2-0 SU and ATS in the third week of the preseason. They beat the Colts in Indianapolis 33-23 as 1 point underdogs in 2016, and followed it up with a 38-31 win at home against Miami as 3.5 point chalk last season. Both games combined to soar over the closing number. Philly has played to high scorers each of the last two weeks, but the betting public has hit the under on the NFL odds at a 67 percent clip in early betting.
That likely has everything to do with Cleveland being an auto under investment with Hue Jackson at the helm. Including the pair of low scorers the team has played to this preseason, the low side of the total has cashed in all but one of the 10 games he’s overlooked as the Browns head coach. Cleveland stands 1-1 SU and ATS in Week 3 dress rehearsals under Hue’s watch.
Eagles vs. Browns Free Picks
As much as you’d like to think the Eagles would march a solid semblance of themselves onto the gridiron in their dress rehearsal, I don’t foresee them going into this one to win it. With the myriad of injuries the roster is currently filled with, there’s no chance this team goes all out in Week 3 preseason betting. On the flipside, Cleveland has everything to prove to its fans and the millions watching the team come together as a unit on HBO’s Hark Knocks. After falling in front of the hometown faithful last week, I expect them to at the very least come out a victor but I like the idea of another lower scoring battle much better.
NFL ATS Pick: Under at BookMaker.eu
NFL Score Prediction: Browns 14 – Eagles 10